Game 245 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 245
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Thursday, February 19, 1948
Forum de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

The suddenly revitalized Montréal Canadiens edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 tonight in an ultra-bitter battle, dotted with fisticuffs, scuffling and arguments.

The loss prevented the Leafs from moving into a first place tie with the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League, while the Habitant win kept alive faint playoff hopes. It was the fourth loss at the Forum for the Leafs this season, and a roaring gathering of 11,218 revelled in every minute of the game.

Terrible Kenny Reardon, the rugged rearguard back after a brief bout with the flu, was credited with what proved to be the winning goal with less than two minutes of the second period remaining, although referee King Clancy ruled it actually went into the net off Leaf defenceman Bill Barilko’s skate. That broke a 1-1 tie, and rookie Norm Dussault slammed in a passout from Joe Carveth nearing the 15 minute mark of the third period.

A total of 22 minors and two majors, many of which delayed the game while players argued about them, were issued in the hard hitting bruiser. Indeed, this Canadien team looked like an entirely different outfit from the subdued one that lost to the Leafs in Toronto last Saturday.

A wild, fight strewn first period, which ended 1-1, had 14 penalties, including a minor to goalie Turk Broda and majors to Bill Ezinicki and Émile Bouchard for a brief, furious fist battle. There were three separate outbreaks involving players of both teams, and referee Clancy was busier than a guy pulling hydro switches around Toronto. The period took 45 minutes to play.

Both those first period goals were scored before the battlers forgot about hockey. The opener, with quick-tempered Rocket Richard, the marksman, came just 31 seconds after the opening siren, and with the Leafs a bit dazed by the fury of the Habitant assault. Richard swiped at a loose puck from a scramble in front of the net, and Broda partly stopped it, but it rolled past him and over the red line.

Less than two minutes later, battling Howie Meeker tied it up. Although the only assist was given to Ted Kennedy, it appeared that Vic Lynn made a passout from behind the Hab net to Meeker. Howie poked it past a lunging BIll Durnan in the nets.

The first of these three mass outbreaks came when Bouchard and Lynn started shoving and high sticking in a corner. Meeker rushed to the fray, followed by both teams, and after players were pulled apart, Meeker, Lynn, Elmer Lach and Bouchard went off with minors.

They were no sooner back than Bill Barilko and Joe Carveth started shoving in front of the Leaf bench. Reardon, in his best battling form, roared into action, fists flailing, singled out Joe Klukay, who had acted as peacemaker. Barilko threw off his gloves and was all for taking on anybody as Bouchard came sailing in, in typical fashion – stick held high. Barilko, Bouchard and Reardon took minors for that.

Less than two minutes before the end of the frame, the 190 pound Bouchard boarded Ezinicki. Off came the gloves and the two went at it, with Bouchard landing a couple of punches before falling atop Ezinicki, as both teams again rushed to the scene. Ezinicki’s sweater was ripped at the neck by fury of the affair. Both took majors.

Broda’s penalty came with seconds to play, when Clancy ruled he had interfered with Richard in front of the net. Sid Smith served it.

Reardon’s goal came when he carried up the ice on one of those running rushes of his. He lost the puck, but it popped up in front of the net just as he roared by, and Barilko’s skate diverted it in.

There were nine minors in the second, including those of Lynn and Bouchard for a high sticking duel, after the big beekeeper boarded Lynn.

In the third period, the boys stuck mostly to straight hockey, with both Broda and Durnan continuing their great displays. Both teams had plenty of chances, with the Leafs pressing furiously at the end.

Broda made 30 stops and Durnan 22. The game wasn’t over until 11 p.m.

Press box watchers said that for sheer battling and will to win by both teams, with no quarter asked or given, it was probably the outstanding game of the season here.

There wasn’t a weakling on the ice as both sides tore into the fray. Bouchard and Reardon played a hard hitting defensive game for the Habs. For the Leafs, the Lynn, Meeker, Kennedy line was probably the best, with Broda making some sensational stops in the nets.

Reardon carried a chip on his shoulder throughout. Once, in the second period, he was sent off for charging Ezinicki into the boards. “Wild Bill” said something to him as he went by, and Reardon pushed him in the face with his gloved hand. Ezinicki was all for carrying it on from there, but officials intervened.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 20, 1948

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 00:31 – Richard (Lach, Plamondon)
TOR GOAL – 02:14 – Meeker (Kennedy)

MTL PEN – 02:37 – Richard, holding
TOR PEN – 06:49 – Kennedy, tripping
MTL PEN – 08:45 – Bouchard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 08:45 – Lynn, high sticking
MTL PEN – 08:45 – Lach, high sticking
TOR PEN – 08:45 – Meeker, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:48 – Bouchard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:48 – Barilko, high sticking
MTL PEN – 11:48 – Reardon, charging
TOR PEN – 15:50 – Klukay, holding
MTL PEN – 16:31 – Richard, holding
MTL PEN – 18:45 – Bouchard, fighting major
TOR PEN – 18:45 – Ezinicki, fighting major
TOR PEN – 19:40 – Broda, interference

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 04:18 – Reardon, charging
MTL PEN – 06:06 – Bouchard, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:06 – Lynn, high sticking
MTL PEN – 08:21 – Carveth, elbowing
MTL PEN – 09:15 – Chamberlain, tripping
TOR PEN – 11:25 – Barilko, charging
TOR PEN – 14:09 – Watson, elbowing
MTL PEN – 14:16 – Chamberlain, slashing
TOR PEN – 14:16 – Klukay, hooking
MTL GOAL – 18:22 – Reardon

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 09:37 – Reardon, tripping
MTL GOAL – 14:01 – Dussault (Carveth)

MTL – Durnan (W, 22-23)
TOR – Broda (L, 30-33)

MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan (C). Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Roger Leger, Ken Reardon. Forwards: Joe Carveth, Murph Chamberlain, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Elmer Lach, Jacques Locas, Kenny Mosdell, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Gus Mortson, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Max Bentley, Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Nick Metz, Sid Smith, Harry Watson.

MTL – 15-23-9 (.415)
TOR – 23-11-13 (.628)